Early Goals See Top Two Advance to FA Cup Semi-Finals

Thanks to early first half goals from Didier Drogba and Carlos Tevez, Chelsea and Manchester United weakened the will of their opposition and saw out relatively elementary victories to advance to the FA Cup Semi-Finals. Yea, Coventry City then Fulham folded up cheaper than any cheap tent or umbrella.

If you woke up early Saturday morning hoping to see a Championship side make it to Wembley, you could have went back to bed before eight (eastern that is). From the opening kickoff, it was obvious the Sky Blues fans at the Ricoh Arena were going to be in for a long afternoon. The formation and tactics Chris Coleman deployed gave Chelsea all the time they wanted on the ball, and Jose Bosingwa free reign over the park.

Even more shocking was the defending of Ben Turner and Scott Dunn on Chelsea’s opener. A simple long ball that Turner should have defended quite easily wasn’t even touched. Any time the ball bounces like that, it’s advantage attacker. Give that bouncing ball to a motivated Didier Drogba and it’s over. Scott Dunn was never going to out muscle Drogba on the edge of the penalty area. About that only thing Coventry City did right in this sequence was Keiren Westwood pushing Drogba wide, just not wide enough. Fifteen minutes into the game, it was all over. The only thing of note in the second half was seeing Michael Essien return to first team action coming off the bench.

At least the first twenty minutes at Craven Cottage were pleasant on the eyes. Fulham went in search of a goal, and only have Vidic to thank they didn’t take the lead. However it was one moment of set piece stupidity that sent this game to an early conclusion.

If you’re the person responsible for a post off a corner kick, you don’t leave it. It’s the first thing said to you when the responsibility is assigned. Well for Paul Konchesky, he totally forgot his job when Wayne Rooney flicked on the corner from the near post. Carlos Tevez maybe short, but he sure as hell knows where to be and where to shoot. Mark Schwarzer wasn’t going to reach the ball, and Konchesky was caught between two minds as too what to do. Cue Carlos Tevez to shoot where Konchesky should have been. Paul stays on the post, it’s still 0-0 and a completely different match.

From there, Manchester United names their own scoreline. Tevez with a beautiful run and strike before halftime gives everyone an early afternoon in the states. The second half sees a third from Rooney before anyone can blink and Ji-Sung Park finishes it off in time for everyone to catch the early train home.

Could the 4-0 scoreline be an omen for things to come at Old Trafford? Only time will tell.

About the only positive for me this today was the fact ITV seems to not know how to block international IPs to their online broadcast of Fulham/Manchester United. Not getting to hear Clive Tyldesley that often, his presenting was a breath of fresh air. Getting to actually hear the full atmosphere, instead of the muted one on Setanta Sports was even better. And I even had my own ‘Everton/Liverpool’ moment when the second half wouldn’t load and missed Wayne Rooney’s third on ITV. That’s about the only time Setanta came in handy. The 4 second delay between seeing the picture and hearing what is being said on Setanta Sports (as has been the problem of late) is just getting old.


  1. eplnfl March 8, 2009
  2. soccerguy March 8, 2009

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